Archive for royals

The scandal of low pay at the Palace

Posted in current affairs with tags , on May 18, 2011 by bridbeast

I read a story last week which really made my blood boil. The cleaners at Buckingham Palace have been asking for a pay rise – from £6.45 an hour, just above the minimum wage, to the London living wage of £7.85. How anyone could survive in London on even the later is beyond me, but according to the workers interviewed in the Guardian piece it would make a huge difference to their quality of life.

Needless to say they were moved on by police when they tried to protest at the Royal Wedding.

I can’t tell you how angry this makes me – the Royal Family, who get £30m of our taxes each year, can’t even give its cleaners a decent wage. Personally I think they should pay them not just a living wage, but an outstanding wage. Instead we’ve had statements from the Palace such as:

“We are currently in negotiations about paying the London living wage.

“We are in correspondence with KGB [the company with the cleaning contract]. As a publicly funded body, we are concerned that our staff have fair rates and proper working conditions.”

Well yes. There are a lot of people who’d like to see some movement on this, for starters the nine MPs who signed an Early Day Motion and the cleaners’ union the PCS.

The PCS have written a letter which they’re using as a basis for a petition which they want to go to the Culture Secretary. I’ve included a version of it below, but let’s go one better. Let’s make sure the Queen’s right hand man, her private secretary, hears about this. His name is Christopher Geidt and his email is

Please send him this letter, or your own, if you feel moved to write something.

Dear Mr Geidt,

I was was outraged to hear that cleaners working for the Royal Household in London are paid £6.45 per hour even though the London Living Wage is set at £7.85. Cleaners in the House of Commons and House of Lords are paid at the rate of the London Living wage.

As £30 million of taxpayer’s money is paid to the Royal family annually for the upkeep of the Royal Households it is clear that the London living wage of £7.85 is affordable.

Why then are the people who work so hard to maintain standards at The Royal Households paid so little?

I am asking you to do all you can to ensure that all cleaners working within the Royal Households are paid the London living wage of £7.85 per hour, a rate that is supported by the Mayor of London.